Binghamton Senators: Looking at the Numbers

Given the quiet schedule for the BSens this week I thought I’d try to break down some numbers to see what insight we can glean.  The AHL doesn’t keep advanced stats and I haven’t had the time to attempt anything like true possession numbers.  That said, there are still interesting things we can look at (player usage first and foremost).  Before I get into it all just a brief note: all players are trying their best, so my criticism isn’t about effort or “heart” but simply a matter of performance.

Team stats
Record: 5-12-2 (t-28th) (home 3-5-1, away 2-7-1)
GF: 56 (t-13th, 2.94), GA: 71 (3.73, 30th)
Back-to-back games: 1-6-0
Overall shot differential: -20 (home -14, away -6)
Games with better/worse shot differential (record): 8/11 (2-5-1/3-7-1)
Games outshot by 10 or more (with record): 4 (1-2-1)
Games shooting more by 10+ (with record): 3 (0-2-1)
Games with shots between -4/+4 (with record): 7 (1-6-0)
Games with 3 or fewer goals scored (with record): 12 (1-9-2)
Powerplay (13-69, 18.8%): they’ve scored a PP goal in 10 of 19 games
Penalty kill (69-89, 77.5%): they’ve given up a PP goal in 13 of 19 games
Record in games scoring a PP goal: 4-5-1
Record in games giving up a PP goal: 3-9-1
Powerplay points: Schneider 6, Mullen 5, O’Dell 4, Puempel 4, Greening 3, Stortini 3, Lindberg 2, Paul 2, Dzingel, Kostka, Claesson, Carlisle, Ewanyk
Shorthanded points: McCormick 2, Dziurzynski 2, Mullen 2, Robinson, Claesson, Greening, Schneider

Player notes connected to the above
Significant positive shot differential (+9 or higher): 5 games (2-2-1)
-Dzingel-O’Dell-Lindberg as the first line in 4 of the games
-Paul-Schneider on the second line in all 5 games
-Lindberg played in all of five games
-Harpur was dressed for only two of the games
Significant negative shot differential (-7 or lower): 5 games (1-4-0)
-Harpur played in all the games
-Kostka missed two of the games
-O’Connor/Greenham started four of the games

Special Teams Notes
-Schneider has been on the ice for 10 of Binghamton’s 13 PP goals; Mullen is second at 9 with the next highest players at 6 (Puempel, O’Dell, Dzingel)
-Stortini’s presence on the PP hurts whoever he’s with; the original first-line players didn’t start putting up points with the man-advantage until he was moved to the second unit (which, in turn, went dry)
-as much as I like Claesson, he’s been on the ice for more PP goals against than any other player (16) by a wide margin (the next is Dziurzynski at 10; Kostka is next at 9)
-Mullen has been on the ice for 4 of Binghamton’s 5 shorthanded goals (Dziurzynski is next at 3)

Even Strength Point Leaders (arranged by points-per-game)
Dzingel 13 (0.68)
Lindberg 9 (0.52)
Dziurzynski 9 (0.47)
O’Dell 8 (0.47)
Schneider 8 (0.42)
Puempel 4 (0.40)
Kostka 5 (0.38)
Greening 5 (0.31)
Robinson 3 (0.27)
Mullen 5 (0.26)
McCormick 4 (0.26)
Stortini 4 (0.23)
Paul 4 (0.22)
Claesson 3 (0.15)
Lepine 2 (0.12)
Hobbs 2 (0.11)
Ewanyk 2 (0.10)
Harpur 1 (0.07)
Fraser 1 (0.05)

The Forwards
Key: PPP=powerplay points, SHP=shorthanded points, FM=fighting majors, INJ = injured, SCR = scratched, SUS = suspended
For a team that’s endured few injuries there’s been a lot of tinkering with the lineup, especially to the scoring lines (rearranging who plays with Ewanyk-Hobbs on the fourth line isn’t an important decision).

Cole Schneider 19-9-6-15 PPP 6 SHP 1 PIM 8
The best all around forward in Binghamton, he’s good defensively and offensively and he’s avoided prolonged slumps despite a rotation of linemates.  His performance broken down by the lines:
Paul-Puempel 6-3-2-5
Paul-McCormick 4-2-0-2
O’Dell-Dzingel 3-2-4-6
O’Dell-Greening 3-2-0-2
He has no points in other combinations (covering 3 games, all unique lines)

Ryan Dzingel 19-5-9-14 PPP 1 PIM 4
The player thrives with other offensive players, he’s escaped the ying-yang of Richardson’s doghouse he suffered through last season.  A great possession player who can the carry the puck and lead the play, he’s leads the team in even-strength points.  Here are his splits with teammates:
O’Dell-Lindberg 10-0-4-4
O’Dell-Schneider 3-2-1-3
Paul-Lindberg 2-2-2-4
His other points came via Puempel-McCormick and the weird line of Robinson-Guptill (they are welcome).  It’s a bit odd that he’s slightly less productive with O’Dell than with the other top players, but I think that’s largely a statistical blip as that line dominates possession

Eric O’Dell 17-8-4-12 PPP 4 PIM 31 FM 1 (INJ 2)
Stormed out of the gate with 9 points in his first 11 games and then saw his production vanish for awhile; he was hurt just after things started turning around.  Here’s a look at his splits:
Dzingel-Lindberg 10-6-1-7
Dzingel-Schneider 3-1-2-3
Greening-Schneider 3-0-2-2
The other game featured Schneider and McCormick, but wasn’t productive.  On the whole there’s not much to criticise here, although earlier in the season O’Dell was guilty of taking selfish penalties

David Dziurzynski 19-5-6-11 SHP 2 PIM 37 FM 1
In his sixth season he’s on pace for a career year, although he hasn’t hit the scoresheet in his last four games (so I’d take a wait-and-see approach to that).  He’s spent the entire year on the third line, mostly as a center with a mix of StortiniMcCormick, and Greening.  At this point you know what you get with Dziurzynski and he’s played about as well as he can.  His stats with linemates:
Greening-Stortini 9-3-4-7
McCormick-Stortini 5-1-0-1
The rest of his points came with three different scrambled lines (Robinson was on two of them).  One of the things that’s evident is Stortini drags his production–he needs a more talented player (ala Greening and Robinson) to generate offense (without either of those two players his stat line reads 8-1-1-2, which is pretty bad).  Among forwards he’s been on the ice the most for PP goals against and it’s by a wide margin (Ewanyk and McCormick are next at 6), which is interesting but not enough at this point for me to draw any conclusions

Tobias Lindberg 17-3-8-11 PPP 2 PIM 4 (SCR 2)
A cerebral player with strong puck skills and good speed, he’s naturally fallen into Richardson’s dog house (ala Dzingel last season) and his only way out is to produce since the coach doesn’t value anything else he does.  His start to the season caught the eye of Pierre Dorion, but like Paul he was randomly scratched early in the season and eventually pulled off the first line, bouncing around the lineup (including another scratch) and yet even on Binghamton’s abysmal fourth line still generating offence.  His splits:
O’Dell-Dzingel 10-1-6-7
Dzingel-Paul 2-2-0-2
Paul-McCormick 2-0-0-0
His other two points were in Binghamton’s last game where he nominally played with Ewanyk.  I think his confidence slumped the last few games (his body language wasn’t great), but he pulled himself together in the last game so it doesn’t seem like it took much for him to shake it (unlike poor Paul below)

Colin Greening 16-4-5-9 PPP 3 SHP 1 PIM 20 FM 2
Moved around the lineup (including an abysmal appearance on the first line) and had a six-game pointless slump in the middle of his run with Binghamton; but when put in the right place he was fine; he is what he is, a more productive and important player at this level, but there’s nothing exciting about him.  His splits by center:
Dziurzynski 9-2-3-5
Ewanyk 4-2-2-4
O’Dell 3-0-0-0
It’s worth noting Ewanyk was not involved in any of Greening‘s offense when they were linemates (most of which was generated on special teams).  He’s just been sent back to the AHL and he’ll be a useful addition, but he should on the third line (it’s amazing how much better he makes Dziurzynski)

Matt Puempel 10-4-4-8 PPP 4 PIM 6
He spent a lot of time accomplishing nothing in Ottawa, but has been reasonably productive for Binghamton (he’d be on pace for 60 points if he’d spent the season in the AHL, which would be a career high).  Puempel is a weird player to assess–he’s not particularly good at driving the play (thus his middling points at even strength), but he’s got enough talent and a good enough shot to produce without spending a ton of time in the offensive zone.  He’s guilty of individualistic play at times and his dedication to defense comes and goes.  Most of his games have been with Paul as his center:
Paul 8-3-4-7
Dzingel 2-1-0-1

Zack Stortini 17-3-4-7 PPP 3 PIM 64 FM 2 (SUS 2)
On the surface his numbers are good for a guy whose only talent is punching people in the face (only 2 fights on the season though, despite the gaudy PIM totals), but three of those points are on the PP where he doesn’t belong and 17-2-2-4 for a third-liner isn’t impressive.  He’s played all but one game with Dziurzynski, but just like his appearance on the powerplay he serves as a drag on his production.  A look at his splits:
Greening-Dziurzynski 10-2-2-4
Dziurzynski-McCormick 5-0-1-1
For the longest time he was trotted out on the first powerplay unit and it was painful seeing him lumbering along, unable to take or make a pass (such that his teammates refused to pass him the puck), ineptly huffing and puffing back to defend when the occasion demanded.  He’s just as bad on the second unit, but as that’s less time on the ice its a small improvement.

Max McCormick 15-4-2-6 SHP 2 PIM 57 FM 3
Called up briefly to Ottawa early in the season because he was “good in the corners”; he’s roughly at the same scoring pace he was on last year and while I like him as a player, he doesn’t belong in the top-six (where Richardson has put him 9 in his last 10 games; he’s also spent time on the first powerplay unit); a look at his splits with his primary partners:
Dziurzynski/Stortini 5-1-0-1
Paul/Schneider 4-3-1-4
Paul/Lindberg 2-0-0-0
His other point was with Dziurzynski/Robinson; clearly without Schneider his production would be virtually non-existent.  An aggressive forechecker who can shoot the puck, he isn’t a possession guy and I’d like to see him on the third line where he’s not required to carry an offensive load.

Nick Paul 18-0-6-6 PPP 2 PIM 6 (SCR 1)
After a nice start to the season (9-0-5-5) he was randomly scratched by Richardson and since then he’s completely lost his confidence (9-0-1-1) and continues to look for his first goal; he’s been blessed with fantastic linemates all season (see below), but with limited impact.  He’s being put in situations to blossom but his confidence simply isn’t there; on the plus side, defensively he’s been solid.  His numbers with his most common wingers:
Schneider 11-5-2-7 (pre-scratch 6-3-2-5/post-scrach  5-2-0-2)
Puempel 8-3-4-7 (pre 6-3-2-5/post 2-0-2-2)
McCormick 7-3-1-4
Lindberg 5-2-0-2 (pre 2-2-0-2/post 3-0-0-0)
Dzingel 2-2-2-4
Clearly his post-scratch performance didn’t just put him in a funk, but also hurt some of the players who played with him.

Buddy Robinson 11-2-2-4 SHP 1 PIM 10 (SCR 2)
Coming off back-to-back 30+ point seasons he began the year injured and since returning has been bounced around the lineup, largely held off the third line (where he belongs) because Richardson refuses to move Stortini (who plays the same side); his first four games were spent with different combinations and then he was scratched for a couple of games before Richardson stapled him to the depths of the fourth line; a talented player, it’s amazing that he’s put up any stats at all given his linemates; his splits (I’ve put his centers in since that’s the primary consistency):
Ewanyk: 6-1-1-2
Dziurzynski: 2-0-1-1
Dzingel: 2-0-0-0
Paul: 1-1-0-1
He’s not a first-line player, but putting him on the fourth line makes no sense; it’ll be interesting to see what Richardson does with him

Travis Ewanyk 19-1-2-3 PPP 1 PIM 31 FM 4
A prospect Ottawa was forced to take when they jettisoned Eric Gryba, he’s a player with ECHL-talent known as a pest, but he doesn’t draw penalties, he just takes them; it’s worth noting that none of his points were with his typical linemates, so he basically generates no offense; he gets a lot of PK time and has not impressed

Danny Hobbs 18-1-1-2 PIM 7 FM 1 (INJ 1)
A career ECHLer that Richardson fell in love with last year, he’s played with Ewanyk on the fourth line for all but one game this season and has been exactly what you’d expect–unimpressive.  He does nothing well, with the only “positive” I’ll give him is that he takes far fewer dumb penalties than his usual linemate; he also gets PK time for some reason

Alex Guptill 3-0-1-1 PIM 4
The failed Dallas draft pick is now making a poor impression in Evansville, but he did dress for three games in Binghamton after returning from a pre-season injury, including an inexplicable tour on the second line.  He has a good enough shot for the AHL, but not the hockey sense to make use of it–there’s very little chance he’ll be recalled

Alex Wideman 4-0-0-0 PIM 0
I have no idea why he wasn’t immediately sent down to Evansville, but for four games he raced around accomplishing nothing (two games on the fourth line and two on the third).  His speed serves him well in the ECHL, but he doesn’t have the hands to make use of it at the AHL-level; despite that, Richardson seemed to have some fondness for him so he might return at some point (he’s been better than Guptill in Evansville)

The Blueline
I don’t like plus/minus for obvious reasons, but in the absence of proper advanced stats I’ve included it here and there below

Patrick Mullen 19-1-11-12 PPP 5 SHP 2 PIM 12
Has spent the entire year carrying around the dead weight that is Fraser; he runs the powerplay and outside of Kostka is the only defensemen who can reliably carry the puck; I’d heard a lot of negative things about him from fans before this season, but at least this season his limited defensive foibles are well within the parameters of a guy who has to do all the work on the back end; he leads the blueline in powerplay points, shorthanded points, and in both categories for being on-ice for goals for; he’s also on the most positive PK pairing for the BSens (with his usual partner); a great possession player, he’s one of the few bright lights this season

Michael Kostka 13-1-5-6 PPP 1 PIM 6 (INJ 2)
He’s played all but one game with the hulking Lepine pylon, who owes him part of his paycheque every time they hit the ice together.  He had an oddly slow start (7-0-1-1), but has been productive since and the team suffers without him (-39 shot differential); he hasn’t accomplished much as the quarterback for the second unit powerplay and his on-ice numbers for powerplay goals against (where he usually played with Claesson) aren’t great (third worst on the team)

Mark Fraser 19-0-1-1 PIM 62 FM 5
He’s fast, he’s big, and he likes to hit guys–what’s not to like?  From the organisation’s perspective that’s all that matters and that’s all he can do; he’s a positional nightmare, takes selfish penalties, and can neither shoot nor pass the puck; his reasonable PK stats are a credit to his defensive partner who makes up for his many mistakes (his failings may not be immediately apparent in his fairly bland stat line, but he’s tied with Lepine as the biggest culprit for goals against on the blueline)

Fredrik Claesson 19-2-3-5 PPP 1 SHP 1 PIM 4
Steady Freddy has been the safety value for three different partners and I think under the circumstance he’s performed admirably; here’s a look at his numbers with each partner:
Harpur: 9-1-1-2 -7
Carlisle: 7-1-2-3 +2
Tuzzolino: 3-0-0-0 +1
It’s pretty clear which combination works best and it’s funny to think that Harpur is the only guy Freddy can’t save; weirdly, Claesson hasn’t been good on the PK where he’s been on the ice for almost all PP goals against–this doesn’t seem like a fluke given the disparity with other players (6 more than the next), but it is early in the season so we’ll have to wait and see

Guillaume Lepine 16-0-2-2 PIM 37 FM 4 (INJ 3)
When he has Kostka carrying him you can almost forget he is a middling ECHL-defensemen that Richardson fell in love with last season; in the four games he’s played without his usual partner he’s a minus 6, the team has given up 20 goals with a -40 shot differential; his splits:
Kostka: 12-0-2-2 +5
Harpur: 2-0-0-0 -2
Tuzzolino: 2-0-0-0 -4
He belongs in the ECHL, but if he’s going to play it has to be with a very good defensemen to make up for his shortcomings (he’s tied with Fraser with culpability for goals against on the blueline)

Ben Harpur 14-0-1-1 PIM 8 (SCR 5)
No matter who he plays with he’s consistently bad; he’s had shots on goal in three games this season despite occasionally being trotted out on the powerplay; he doesn’t have sporadically bad games, instead he’s just consistently awful; his splits:
Claesson: 9-0-1-1 -6
Tuzzolino: 2-0-0-0 -1
Lepine: 2-0-0-0 -2
Kostka: 1-0-0-0 even
This is a guy who was being hyped in the summer (Ryan Wagman being a cheerleader among others), although as I said repeatedly at the time he’s not going to thrive in the AHL and he’s shown no sign at all that he can play at this level; time in Evansville continues to make the most sense

Chris Carlisle 12-2-1-3 PPP 1 PIM 2 (SCR 1)
Called up from the ECHL to help move the puck, he’s been dressed as a forward in almost half his games (5); Claesson has been his partner when on defense; interestingly, the BSens lost every single game he played on the blueline, but his underlying numbers are fine and he makes far fewer critical mistakes than HarpurLepineFraser, or Tuzzolino; as a blueliner:
Claesson: 7-1-1-2 +2
I’m still not sure if he’s a better option than Troy Rutkowski would be here, but at least Richardson recognised that he needed someone to move the puck…if only he’d let him play on the blueline consistently

Nick Tuzzolino 7-0-0-0 PIM 0 (SCR 12)
How does an ECHL tough guy have zero penalty minutes?  He can’t play hockey, so why isn’t he fighting?  This is a guy everyone expected to be in Evansville all season, but inexplicably Luke Richardson likes him (and has praised him this season), despite any discernible talent–the guy is a trainwreck every time he plays–only steady Claesson has been able to float him a little, but otherwise he’s laughably awful and a huge drag on whoever he plays with; the splits:
Claesson: 3-0-0-0 +1
Harpur: 2-0-0-0 -4
Lepine: 2-0-0-0 -2

Chris Driedger 5-5-0 2.92 .910
You might look at his numbers and think them unremarkable or even bad–he’s 26th in save percentage and 33rd in goals against–but by my count he’s only let in 4 bad goals and has been spectacular in some of the games–the BSens have no reason to complain about the man who has won all their games this season and I’m sure they’d love to have him back from Ottawa

Matt O’Connor 0-7-2 4.22 .863
Talk about not ready for prime time!  There’s no reason, other than pride, why he hasn’t been sent to Evansville to get his head straightened out because there’s no denying he’s been absolutely awful this season–unbelievably bad; by my count he’s let in 11 bad goals and only looked good in his first start of the year; his call-up to Ottawa hasn’t improved anything and there must be a level of panic throughout the Sens org that their “goalie of the future” is struggling this much; all season he’s played small and been deep in the net

Scott Greenham 0-0-0 4.92 .800
Didn’t look great in his only start, but hasn’t had enough time for any impression to be made; he was great in Evansville before his injury

Who works best with who:
Not necessarily the best combination for O’Dell, but the best for the team overall in terms of productivity and puck possession (there are other versions of this line that produce, but then the second line stops producing)
There’s no real alternative to Paul at center for this line given the above, so while it’s not perfect, it’s a good enough to require an answer from opposing teams
While Greening stirs the drink for Dziuryznski, I don’t like McCormick on the fourth line (Richardson wouldn’t put him there anyway) so this combination seems best–good speed, size, and while they may not score a ton they’d be good defensively
I had to change this with the roster news from last night/this morning (Kyle Flanagan and Ryan Penny coming up from the ECHL); all the above players are left-handed shots and can play center, so where they go is guesswork; I’m aware that Richardson would never scratch Stortini, and until I see the two ECHL players play at this level I’m guessing at what they can do, but they can’t be any worse than the usual players that have lined up here
The Blueline:
It seems like this is something we’re stuck with since Fraser is here to stay and he needs to be insulated
Before looking at the numbers I would have put Claesson with Kostka here, but they’ve struggled so much as a pairing on the PK I’m reluctant to go there; Lepine isn’t a good player, but he needs someone like Kostka to protect him
This makes a lot of sense as it takes the pressure of Freddy to carry the puck and allows Carlisle to play the way he needs too; there’s simply no room for Harpur and Tuzzolino, neither of whom have AHL-talent

One of the interesting things in going over all this is to see that, at times, Richardson has partially composed his lineup correctly, but he plays favourites and has multiple blindspots (positive and negative) which means we’ve been denied anything close to the best roster possible.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)